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james_va


Mar 14, 2011, 12:40 PM
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climbing shoes = permanent foot issues?
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Hi Everyone,

Do climbing shoes hurt your feet? I doubt we'll see any formal studies on this topic, but I'm just curious if you've had ongoing foot pain, nerve issues, etc. caused or apparently caused by wearing climbing shoes.

What happened, and how long did it last? (Or is it ongoing?)

I know much depends on how tight the shoes are, on/off frequency, etc. But I have noticed some nerve/structural pain with a new pair (I'm not even a sport climber), and I'm also wondering about putting very young feet into tight-fitting shoes for hours at a time.

Scroll down to the photos:
http://www.marksdailyapple.com/flat-feet-treatment/

Again, I am not looking for emotional reassurance or personal shoe advice in this thread (I can ask for those separately ;-), but rather to get a sense of what sorts of issues tight climbing shoes have caused people.

Thanks for sharing your input,

James


caughtinside


Mar 14, 2011, 1:08 PM
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Re: [james_va] climbing shoes = permanent foot issues? [In reply to]
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I have had a couple issues.

One was quite painful, my big toes used to ache for several hours in the morning. I changed climbing shoes, and the pain went away and my feet have been fine since.

Also, I have growths on my feet. on top of my big toes towards the outside, and on my heels. Not coincidentally, these are the spots where my feet rub against the inside of the shoe the most/hardest. I've seen some photos of feet of folks who have been climbing a long time, and they have the same growths, much more pronounced.


scotty1974


Mar 16, 2011, 3:16 PM
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Re: [james_va] climbing shoes = permanent foot issues? [In reply to]
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I think there was an article or email from Rock and Ice where a guy was discussing all the surgeries that he and his friends had on their feet from years in small shoes.

Sorry I couldn't help more specifically.


moose_droppings


Mar 16, 2011, 3:39 PM
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Re: [james_va] climbing shoes = permanent foot issues? [In reply to]
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james_va wrote:
Hi Everyone,

Do climbing shoes hurt your feet? I doubt we'll see any formal studies on this topic, but I'm just curious if you've had ongoing foot pain, nerve issues, etc. caused or apparently caused by wearing climbing shoes.

What happened, and how long did it last? (Or is it ongoing?)

I know much depends on how tight the shoes are, on/off frequency, etc. But I have noticed some nerve/structural pain with a new pair (I'm not even a sport climber), and I'm also wondering about putting very young feet into tight-fitting shoes for hours at a time.

Scroll down to the photos:
http://www.marksdailyapple.com/flat-feet-treatment/

Again, I am not looking for emotional reassurance or personal shoe advice in this thread (I can ask for those separately ;-), but rather to get a sense of what sorts of issues tight climbing shoes have caused people.

Thanks for sharing your input,

James


salamanizer


Mar 20, 2011, 9:19 AM
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Re: [james_va] climbing shoes = permanent foot issues? [In reply to]
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Yes...

I've developed chronic pain in the base knuckle of both big toes. Sometimes it's debilitating to the point I can only tolerate climbing hand cracks and offwidths.

Not sure if it's just the shoes or stemming from years of pushing my limits on slabs and thin face.
I've spent many full days standing in my tip toes on some bleak nubbin hand drilling bolts. By the end of the day, I can hardly walk.


caughtinside


Mar 20, 2011, 10:21 AM
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salamanizer wrote:
Yes...

I've developed chronic pain in the base knuckle of both big toes. Sometimes it's debilitating to the point I can only tolerate climbing hand cracks and offwidths.

Not sure if it's just the shoes or stemming from years of pushing my limits on slabs and thin face.
I've spent many full days standing in my tip toes on some bleak nubbin hand drilling bolts. By the end of the day, I can hardly walk.

I had the same thing for a while. Walking in the morning really hurt till my toes loosened up. Changed climbing shoes and the issue was gone in 2 weeks.


potreroed


Mar 20, 2011, 11:50 AM
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Personally my feet have survived but I know lots of climbers with deformed feet and lots of issues like bunions. I know a couple of climbers who've had their toenails permanently removed to resolve pain problems.


l3uddy789


Mar 20, 2011, 8:12 PM
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potreroed wrote:
Personally my feet have survived but I know lots of climbers with deformed feet and lots of issues like bunions. I know a couple of climbers who've had their toenails permanently removed to resolve pain problems.

How did that effect their climbing? I would think it would be more painful at least in the beginning before the part of your toe where the nail was is used to having pressure on it.


justkidn


Mar 20, 2011, 8:36 PM
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After suffering some running related injuries, most notably of which was severe greater trochanteric bursitis. I sought help from a sport med MD and PT specializing with competitive runners. The PT looked at my feet and noticed I had remarkably inflexible feet, particularly the big toe. This in turn caused changes in my mechanics and could have lead to the issues I was having. While this could be from countless other “causes”, I wondered if this could be from years of climbing and tight shoes and often wondered if other climber/runners experienced the same chronic, mechanical issues. What an interesting epidemiological study this could make…..


potreroed


Mar 21, 2011, 9:03 AM
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l3uddy789 wrote:
potreroed wrote:
Personally my feet have survived but I know lots of climbers with deformed feet and lots of issues like bunions. I know a couple of climbers who've had their toenails permanently removed to resolve pain problems.

How did that effect their climbing? I would think it would be more painful at least in the beginning before the part of your toe where the nail was is used to having pressure on it.

They're both solid 5.13 climbers and they say it's the best thing they've ever done. Not sure about the "breaking in" period.


wonderwoman


Mar 22, 2011, 1:27 PM
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potreroed wrote:
Personally my feet have survived but I know lots of climbers with deformed feet and lots of issues like bunions. I know a couple of climbers who've had their toenails permanently removed to resolve pain problems.

I would seriously consider this option. I had previously asked a podiatrist to do this for me the last time I had a toenail removed (the other had previously removed itself). He encouraged me to try to let them grow back in and see if it went back to normal. It didn't.

The latest toe issue, is 'overlapping toe', where I one of my toes has literally folded up underneath the neighboring toe. The same doc said it wasn't from my climbing shoes but was from my tendons drying up and shrinking. My short term solution has been to buddy tape my folded toe to keep it separated from it's aggressor.

http://www.personalhealthzone.com/overlappingtoes.html


jsh


Mar 22, 2011, 2:25 PM
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Re: [james_va] climbing shoes = permanent foot issues? [In reply to]
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I've had trouble with the joint in my big left toe. My left foot is every-so-slightly larger, so this is the joint that takes the 'hit' as caughtinside said. I also have those ..bumps.. on the outside of both big toes. They seem to be static. Mostly, just wearing comfy loose shoos, like Merrell Mocs, have helped a lot.

My worst problem, though I can't really directly relate it to climbing, is that I have a broken/shattered lateral (fibular) sesamoid in my right foot, which happened last June or July or so, during which time I was already on the couch with a sinus infection. I really have no idea how it happened, tho years of stress from climbing is my #1 guess.

It's refused to heal or fuse despite 4 months in a cam walker, 'roids, ultrasound stimulation, etc. It utterly shut me out of climbing - could barely put a climbing shoe on; climbing was intensely painful. I got a cortisone shot 2 weeks ago that made a miraculous, instant difference (and I can climb!), and so now that I'm sure the sesamoid is the problem, I'll end up having surgery to remove the smaller fragments at least, if not the entire sesamoid, once the cortisone wears off.

Don't forget that Gail (gblauer?) here has a whole foot saga. You can find hers if you search this site for sesamoid, as I did.


sspssp


Mar 22, 2011, 2:29 PM
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Re: [wonderwoman] climbing shoes = permanent foot issues? [In reply to]
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I got tired of a seriously ingrown toenail and had my big toenail permantenly removed. The doc suggested removing only part of it, when I found out this was only for looks, I said, nope, all of it.

It took 4~6 weeks (it was a long time ago, can't remember) before I could climb (or rather, before I could wear tight shoes), but otherwise I had zero problems. Didn't bug me at all. It looks a little funny. Doesn't bug me at all.

I wish I had done the other big toe at the same time.


(This post was edited by sspssp on Mar 22, 2011, 2:32 PM)


Jomomzaho


Mar 25, 2011, 5:40 AM
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Re: [james_va] climbing shoes = permanent foot issues? [In reply to]
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Sorry about the foot aches. Climbers, with our fancy little shoes, are prone to these issues. The solution for me was to wear larger shoes. My street shoe and rock shoe sizes are the same. With larger shoes, I am able to feel the rock better with the increase in shoe flexibility. Smaller shoes just made everything feel like a dime edge. I generally front point smear and avoid heel hooks like the plague. YMMV


k.l.k


Mar 25, 2011, 9:38 AM
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james_va wrote:
I doubt we'll see any formal studies on this topic, but I'm just curious if you've had ongoing foot pain, nerve issues, etc. caused or apparently caused by wearing climbing shoes.

Actually, there have been a number of studies in the medical literature, although many of them have been published in German-lang. journals.

Thomas Hochholzer and Volker Schoeffl have been the most prolific authors. Some of their older work is available in English in the book, One Move Too Many . . .


dynosore


Mar 25, 2011, 10:30 AM
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Re: [k.l.k] climbing shoes = permanent foot issues? [In reply to]
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I have arthritis in my big toe and I'm sure it's in part due to climbing shoes. I also run so it's hard to say what portion of blame can be assigned to each. I wear comfy lace up trad shoes for all but the hardest climbs.

edit: iphone spelling "help" isn't


(This post was edited by dynosore on Mar 25, 2011, 12:31 PM)


mr.tastycakes


Mar 25, 2011, 10:50 AM
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I had some foot pain when I first started climbing that I attribute to too tight shoes that, additionally, didn't fit the shape of my foot very well. Mostly numbness followed by pain in my big toes. A couple years ago I went to the local climbing store and tried on probably 15 pairs of shoes, counting different sizes of the same model. I was there for a couple hours, and I'm sure I annoyed the shit out of the employee attending to me, but I finally found a shoe that fits the shape of my foot well and actually feels comfortable in spite of being relatively tight-fitting. No foot pain ever since. They're Sportiva Miura VS, in case you were wondering, size 8.5 on my street-shoe-sized 10 feet.

One of my climbing partners was recently diagnosed with arthritis in both big toes and is doing PT for it.

I think taking your climbing shoes off when you're not actually climbing is important for keeping your feet in good shape. I take a pair of sandals to the gym for this purpose. If I'm climbing multipitch and it'd be inconvenient to take off my shoes at every belay I wear my old, blown-out, super-comfy moccs.


shockabuku


Mar 28, 2011, 8:46 AM
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justkidn wrote:
After suffering some running related injuries, most notably of which was severe greater trochanteric bursitis. I sought help from a sport med MD and PT specializing with competitive runners. The PT looked at my feet and noticed I had remarkably inflexible feet, particularly the big toe. This in turn caused changes in my mechanics and could have lead to the issues I was having. While this could be from countless other “causes”, I wondered if this could be from years of climbing and tight shoes and often wondered if other climber/runners experienced the same chronic, mechanical issues. What an interesting epidemiological study this could make…..


I have, in comparison to everyone else I have ever asked, particularly inflexible toes as well. I don't know why. Three of my kids, who climb, have much more flexible toes than I. So does my wife, who doesn't climb. I think it makes it harder to wear very aggressive shoes.


shockabuku


Mar 28, 2011, 8:50 AM
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Are you familiar with the content?

My daughter, 18, has been having problems with pain on the back of one of her heels after about 5 years of wearing climbing shoes. No indication as to why.


k.l.k


Mar 28, 2011, 9:20 AM
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shockabuku wrote:
Are you familiar with the content?

My daughter, 18, has been having problems with pain on the back of one of her heels after about 5 years of wearing climbing shoes. No indication as to why.

I have the book and have read a number of the more recent articles. Most of them concern damage to the metatarsals and met heads. Arthiritis in the toe joints, bunions, and hammer toes-- exactly the sort of thing you'd expect from what is basically footbinding.

Most boulderers, gym and sportclimbers wear their shoes way too tight. In the places where folks have been sizing like that for the longest (i.e., the parts of Europe where folks have been sportc;limbing like that for 30 oyrs) you're seeing lots and lots of serious damage, so it's pretty easy to predict a similar curve for us in a few more years.

re yr daughter-- you need to see a decent sports ortho. depending where on the "heel" the pain is, an ortho will want to eliminate achilles tendonitis or problems witht heplantar fascia.

but it might also be something fairly simple. achilles tendonitis is a pita, so i'd get it checked.


shockabuku


Mar 28, 2011, 9:30 AM
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I intend to but she's in Italy until July and doesn't feel terribly comfortable with the medical services there.


k.l.k


Mar 28, 2011, 9:39 AM
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where in italy?

if she's up north near Arco and the Dolos, it'd be worth a couple hours drive over the Brenner to go to Innsbruck.

I'bruck is one of the centers of climbing oriented sports med. UI med school has folks working specifically with skiers and climbers. There's a climbing-oriented sports med clinic in the same building as Tivoli, the best gym in Tirol.

Besides, she could climb in the same gym as Angela Eiter!


shockabuku


Mar 28, 2011, 10:08 AM
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Lake Como. We'll investigate, thanks.


currupt4130


Mar 28, 2011, 10:20 AM
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wonderwoman wrote:
potreroed wrote:
Personally my feet have survived but I know lots of climbers with deformed feet and lots of issues like bunions. I know a couple of climbers who've had their toenails permanently removed to resolve pain problems.

I would seriously consider this option. I had previously asked a podiatrist to do this for me the last time I had a toenail removed (the other had previously removed itself). He encouraged me to try to let them grow back in and see if it went back to normal. It didn't.

The latest toe issue, is 'overlapping toe', where I one of my toes has literally folded up underneath the neighboring toe. The same doc said it wasn't from my climbing shoes but was from my tendons drying up and shrinking. My short term solution has been to buddy tape my folded toe to keep it separated from it's aggressor.

http://www.personalhealthzone.com/overlappingtoes.html

Both of my second toes sit on top of my big toes now. I've got my foot up on the coffee table and right now just sitting naturally my second toe covers up half of my big nail. Pretty sure my feet weren't like this before I started climbing. It doesn't bother me and it isn't painful though.


cacalderon


Mar 28, 2011, 4:22 PM
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Re: [james_va] climbing shoes = permanent foot issues? [In reply to]
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same as some of the posts above..

I have growths on my toes, specifically, on top of my big toes towards the outside...

My wife says she hates them, but i think she really loves them... lol.

Anyway, i would not categorized this as permanent damage... after three or four months rest from injuries these bad boys are gone and re-appear as soon as i start climbing.

Advice: don't use very small shoes... a bit tight will suffice.

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